3 Ways Digital Business Will Impact Application Leaders

Application leaders must embrace new technologies and operating models to remain a relevant part of the digital business strategy.

Today, digital business transformation is the phrase on everyone’s lips. Every industry, public or private, with a goal of transforming customer experience, business models or operations have been on a digital business journey for the last three to five years.

This journey often starts with small, agile teams experimenting with new digital technologies until they reach a tipping point, where the focus shifts to delivering, scaling and harvesting the organization’s digital ambition.

“This shift brings significant changes that has implications for the application organization,” says Dennis Gaughan, VP Analyst, Gartner. “Some of these changes include shifting budgets from IT to business units, changing workforce demographics, aligning IT operating models to business models and quickly learning how to exploit new technologies.”

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Gartner predicts three ways digital business and new technologies will impact application leaders over the next five years.

By 2021, 25% of digital workers will use a virtual employee assistant on a daily basis, up from less than 2% in 2019.

Virtual employee assistant (VEA) is a type of virtual assistant designed for the workplace. VEAs drive productivity and efficiency improvements, as well as create more engaging user experiences by transforming how digital workers interact with their workspaces. For example, organizations are already deploying VEAs to assist with common IT tasks such as password resets and other service desk issues.

Digital workplace application leaders will need to include employees from various business units in identifying early use cases for VEAs to ensure ease of use when it comes to collaboration, communication and access to specific internal applications.

Read more: 5 Year Vision for Application Leaders

By 2023, 65% of organizations that moved to a product-centric delivery model will have embedded their digital product managers in a business area.

In many organizations, the shift away from the project-centric view of IT to a product-centric approach is well underway. A recent Gartner survey found 85% of organizations have adopted, or plan to adopt, a product-centric application delivery model.

“Inspired by the agile and DevOps movements, the product-centric model and mindset treat applications as products that have life cycles,” says Gaughan. “Operating in this manner introduces a critical role — the digital product manager.”

Application leaders responsible for integration must enable colleagues other than specialists to perform integration as part of their job

Digital product managers manage the strategic direction of products and are closely linked to achieving a set of business results. As a result, the product management function will migrate from the technology organization into business teams.

For application leaders implementing the digital product management role, build digital product management competency in business lines by recruiting existing IT product managers or experienced product managers into the business.

By 2023, 65% of large organizations will enable their non-IT personnel to perform integration tasks.

Typically, all integration work is performed by a central team of full-time integration specialists. However, the move to digital business, cloud, mobile and the Internet of Things has resulted in an overwhelming and exponential volume of integration work.

Application leaders responsible for integration must enable colleagues other than specialists to perform integration as part of their job. Look into the volume and complexity of integration work to assess how delegating responsibility to non-IT personnel can improve the organization’s business agility and make time for new initiatives.

Gartner clients can read the rest of the Gartner predictions in the full report, “Predicts 2019: Application Leaders,” by Dennis Gaughan, et al. More predictions for all aspects of the IT industry can be found in the Gartner Trend Insight Report “Predicts 2019: Leadership Means Expanding Options, Not Limiting Them,” a collection of research aimed at helping CIOs and IT leaders focus on how the landscape is shifting for individuals, businesses and IT organizations.

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